Caught My Eye: Noble Causes Archives Volume 1

Guest Post

Noble Causes is a book that has caught my eye for a long time, but I just never got the full urge to read it until the recent archive collections were solicited. While some comic books are often compared to soap operas due to the themes and long running plots, Noble Causes embraces that concept and bases the entire series on it.

That does not mean the comic is looking for an audience within stay at home moms and grandmothers, but that it focuses on the characters and builds on them in ways few other comic books do.

The release of this archive collection (and soon the second volume) coincided with a new push in the series. These two huge collections contain the entire series up to the point in the series where it takes a five year jump in the story as a way to get new readers to try out the series and feel comfortable with all the history of the title. From a marketing perspective, that seems like a good idea since DC did something similar with One Year Later following the Infinite Crisis crossover.

As I mentioned before, Noble Causes has lots of soap opera aspects to it. It follows a family of superheroes who have been in the business for a long time and have a lot of fame. Where saving the day is the most important aspect of the job for every other superhero, the Noble family is more concerned with keeping up appearances in the public. It reminds me quite a bit of how the Hollywood machine works in this day of age and I am sure Jay Faerber had that in mind while writing the series.

While the book can be compared to soap operas, that does not mean it is filled with crappy actors and absurd plot points. It does have the standard devices such as neglected spouses, jealous siblings, and odd resurrections but for some reason it just works. The first 12 issues in the collection are more or less all character interactions with hardly any outside situations to deal with. I think once the book got over halfway, it started to deal with outside forces, but it still kept the focus on the family and how messed up they are.

The art has a very stylized look to it, but for some reason the artist lineup rotates pretty often. It might be kind of jarring to some readers, but I hardly noticed since the various artists chosen kept the look pretty consistent throughout. To that end, I was pretty impressed that Jay Faerber was able to keep control on the art as well as he did, because on other titles when the artists rotate in and out the book usually suffers for it. I was looking at the credit pages and noticed that some back to back issues had different artists. The look reminds me quite a bit to what you might see with Invincible.

One thing I did notice is that since the book was done with color and this collection was in black and white, some of the art is kind of odd looking since the shading doesn’t translate too well. It almost seems like what should have went into the book was the inked art over a black and white rendering of the pages after it got colored. The shading is not too bad, but does stick out a little.

While Noble Causes is probably not for everyone, it was a compelling read for me. I hardly put it down once I started reading and my wife had to get on me a couple of times for neglecting my chores. So if you need an official ranking, I would mark it down under “Angry Wife Good”. The price point of the collection was also a huge selling factor for me in giving it a try. It collects Noble Causes First Impressions, Noble Causes 1 – 4, Noble Causes: Family Secrets 1 – 4, Noble Causes: Distant Relatives 1 – 4, and the Noble Causes ongoing series 1 – 12 for $19.99. For the money, it is one of the best deals on the market. I hope you check it out, but please don’t neglect your chores…

Noble Causes Archives Volume 1
Writer: Jay Faerber
Art: Various
Cover: Fran Bueno
Image Comics
Released: April 2008
Diamond Order Code: NOV072027